In 2015, Dieter Lenzen, president of Universität Hamburg, declared, 'Education is not a luxury. It is a fundamental need'. The University created the #UHHhilft programme to help refugees return to higher education. Those taking part in the programme receive advising and support on the application and admissions processes, attend lectures and language courses, and can take part in buddy and sports programmes. The 'Refugee Law Clinic Hamburg' (RLC) at the university trains law students in how to advise refugees on legal issues, such as the asylum process. Student advisers provide counsel on a voluntary basis with various organisations around the city.
Generally speaking, refugees interested in participating in #UHHhilft must be eligible to study in their home country. Participants also need intermediate German skills (around level B1). Those without certification of their language skills can take an online test during the registration process. Information about the programme and the application deadline is available on the University's website.
Students and staff support participants throughout the programme. #UHHhilft participants have access to advising at the Studierendenwerk Hamburg on social welfare and student loans in Germany (BAföG). Regular meet-ups especially for female participants, are also available. Certain lectures are open to prospective students to acquaint themselves with the University and to assist them in choosing a major subject of study. Prospective students also receive individual advising on the application process and take part in complementary German courses to improve their language skills in order to meet the university's admission requirements.
Volunteer students act as 'buddies' to the prospective students, helping them overcome language barriers and showing them the ropes when it comes to such things accessing computers, printers, and libraries at the University. Finally, a monthly Welcome Café and a range of sporting activities at University Sports Hamburg foster additional contact between students and refugees.